Property search is broken. In the future, tenants will instantly be matched to the homes and neighbourhoods that best meet their needs.
SearchSmartly is building that future today.
Our unique technology reimagines and simplifies the property matchmaking experience by doing the heavy lifting to uncover the properties that are best suited to each tenant’s complete, hyper-personal needs, be it a short commute, good local education, living near green space, and so on.
In doing so, our platform transforms the search from hours to minutes, while generating leads for the UK’s largest estate agents that convert up to 5x better than leads from existing sources.
So here it is – our list of almost 60 entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors who are shaking up the UK residential sector.
Property search is time-consuming and stressful, and existing search platforms do not address the shifting needs of consumers.
Ten years ago, people cared more about the property itself – factors such as how much space a property has, whether it has a garden, etc dominated the decision-making process. Today, movers are highly mobile and care more about how well their local neighbourhood supports their lifestyle needs, with factors such as access to good schools, public transport, and a lively high street now ranking higher than property-level factors.
The complex trade-offs between these factors have become even more challenging under COVID-19, as nearly overnight, consumers are even more flexible on where and how they live.
Existing platforms are unable to address these shifting criteria, and as a result, finding the right property takes over 100 hours of research today. Consumers rank property search second to divorce as the most stressful experience they face.
On the other side of the market, estate agents face a grave problem with rapidly deteriorating return on marketing spend.
This problem has two components: first, agents receive very poor quality leads from traditional property search platforms, with conversion rates hovering around 2%. This means agents spend a large amount of time on non-revenue generating workflow, qualifying leads and conducting viewings that don’t convert into transactions, detracting from time that could be spent winning more instructions from landlords and vendors.
Second, the cost of acquiring these low quality leads is rapidly rising at 23% year on year due to aggressive pricing strategies implemented by portals.
SearchSmartly has flipped the search process upside-down by building the first lifestyle-centric relocation platform powered by state-of-the-art algorithms that understand the nuanced lifestyle needs of tenants and property buyers, allowing us to match consumers to their ideal homes up to ten times faster than the status quo, saving untold stress in the search and move-in process.
On average, SearchSmartly users request their first viewing within 8 minutes of landing on our website, compared to hours spent on traditional search portals Furthermore, our technology is augmented by a layer of personalised and empathetic support from our team and a free move-in concierge service delivered by our partners, allowing our users to feel like they constantly have someone in their corner in the often daunting property search experience, all for no cost.
Through this hyper-personalised matching between users and property, SearchSmartly drastically improves the conversion rates seen by estate agents by between 3x and 5x, transforming operational efficiency.
Our partner agents share with us approximately 2% of the gross contract value of every transaction introduced by SearchSmartly, generating revenues of approximately £450 per lettings transaction and upwards of £3,000 per sales transaction for our business.
We are fundamentally transforming the property search experience through AI-led hyper-personalisation. We offer a unique property search experience that flips the traditional process on its head to save users 60+ hours of time when moving home. By asking consumers what lifestyle factors they care most about in their new home, such as access to green space, having good schools nearby, being within a certain commute time to a place of work or study, our matchmaking algorithm reduces the research and ‘deep-diving’ users need to do, helping them quickly discover the perfect home in areas they might not have previously considered. As a result, our search experience is highly personalized, yet this personalisation is delivered to users for free, unlike the costly offerings of search and relocation agents.
COVID-19 has upended the way people work and live. Many are reconsidering the trade-offs between longer commute, affordability, space, and access to a healthier, greener environment. With consumer needs in such a state of flux and becoming increasingly location-flexible, our product is ideally positioned to address this need due to the unique nature of our lifestyle-driven matchmaking technology.
For estate agents, we help increase conversion rates by up to 5x compared to traditional property search platforms, thanks to a better fundamental match to a given home, and a deeper qualification of intent. It is free for agents to get set up, and they only pay a fee when a transaction is completed.
We have built strong demand-side partnerships with universities and corporates to build a pipeline of recurring users. These partners are unwilling to work directly with estate agents, as this would limit the options available to the students and professionals searching for property.
SearchSmartly’s initial target market are consumers who are flexible in where they would like to live. This segment is dominated by renters and buyers undergoing a change in their life (moving cities, changing jobs, moving in with a partner, having a child, etc), allowing our technology to fill an unmet set of needs that existing solutions do not address. Our target market is composed of time-poor, urban-dwellers driven by lifestyle requirements and moving, on average, once every 18 months. This niche presents a £1.2b opportunity per annum in London alone.
Longer-term, SearchSmartly’s potential addressable market are the broader private rental and first-time buyer segments in the UK (and beyond), consisting of approximately 6 million property transactions per year. The former segment is the fastest-growing within the UK housing market, and presents a revenue opportunity of over £6b, with attractive growth of +20% predicted by 2025.
Taha Dar (Founder & CEO) has a diverse background in technology, strategy, and finance. As an engineer at the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team, he was responsible for implementing the team’s first machine learning tools. He has also held roles as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group and as an analyst at Citi. Taha holds an MBA from the London Business School and an MEng in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College.
Hesseltje van Goor (COO) brings extensive startup experience to SearchSmartly, having previously scaled Eigen Technologies (CB Insights Top 100 AI Startups) from first traction to Series B and over £1m in revenues through various roles, including Chief Product Officer and acting Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that, Hess built her early career as a designer. Hess holds an MSc from Birkbeck College and a BA from Dublin City University.
Management is supported by a capable technical team led by Lawrie Platt-McWall and Ihor Yevstifieiev, who bring considerable experience in proptech and fintech having worked at firms such as Property Box. Xavier Nukajam leads SearchSmartly’s marketing and growth efforts, having joined from Omnicom Media Group.
Raising £750k (EIS) at a £4m pre-money valuation.
Investors already committed in this round include IFG.vc, a family office with a focus on real estate, the CEO of Carwow, and key existing shareholders (including our pre-seed lead investor) following on with their investments.
For more information on SearchSmartly or any of our other services, you can contact our startup mentor Adam Haider directly.
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